Below, action we can take to respond to Pat Roberts' betrayal of his word of honor to Jay Rockefeller -- a VichyDems Game Plan.
First, in a nutshell, here's what happened Thursday:
The White House knows the NSA's warrantless wiretaps of American citizens is illegal, unconstitutional, and an impeachable offense.
The Republicans in Congress know that if the issue stays on the public's radar, those Democrats who stand tall for civil liberties will kick their asses in November.
Pat Roberts, the Republican Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, promised the ranking minority member of that Committee, Jay Rockefeller, last week that the Committee would hold hearings into the NSA question. That Committee was scheduled to vote today on Rockefeller's motion to conduct such hearings. But the White House pressured Roberts to break his promise, which put him in a quandary -- given Chuck Hagel's fencesitting on the question (and, I'd like to think, our phone/fax/email blitz yesterday, which told the senators that we were paying attention), Roberts was not certain that the Committee would risk the voters' ire by voting not to hold hearings.
So, instead, he unilaterally pulled a procedural maneuver to prevent the vote from even happening. Not only will there not be Senate Intelligence Committee hearings into admitted warrantless wiretaps of American citizens, but its Chair won't even allow it to vote on whether to hold such hearings.
That cannot stand. All we can do is register our outrage -- but we sure as hell can REGISTER OUR OUTRAGE!
So the Game Plan is simple:
Call Jay Rockefeller and the other Democratic senators on the Committee and tell them how outraged you are about the Republicans' maneuvering, and tell them they have your support.
Call Pat Roberts and the other Republican senators on the Committee -- at both their DC AND DISTRICT offices -- and tell them, ABSTAINING FROM OBSCENITY, how very, very furious you are about the Republicans' refusal to honor their oath of office and investigate the legality of the White House/NSA surveillance program, to exercise oversight, or to protect Americans' rights. Be polite but vent your ire in no uncertain terms. Make his staffers wish they had taken jobs with Democrats. Make sure every Senator hears the buzz that not only are people calling, but that they're mad as hell.
Contact information for the Senate Intelligence Committee and each of its members can be found in the bottom half of the post HERE.
Remember, part of our goal is to teach our representatives that the grassroots are waking up, paying attention and getting mad. That means telling them what we want BEFORE they take action, then telling them how we feel about it AFTER they act. Both halves of the equation are equally important. And it's gonna be gratifying to let it all out for a change!
So saddle up, patriots. We've still got work to do.
SUPPLEMENT, 10:14 PM E.T.: According to the Washington Post, the maneuvering in the Intelligence Committee was a little more complicated than I gathered from reading Rockefeller's press release, which directly criticized Roberts for breaking his promise and preventing the vote on Rockefeller's motion. Apparently the Committee members DID vote -- though not on whether to hold hearings, but rather on whether to vote to hold hearings. Roberts had them vote not to vote: a substantive decision disguised as a procedural one.
Snowe --who's walking a fine line, being up for re-election in November -- said she wants to postpone hearings while the White House engages in "good-faith negotiations." Who thinks the White House will negotiate "in good faith"?